University of Iowa
Phone: (319) 335-9154

Ed Holtum has been a librarian at the University of Iowa for over 35 years and is currently the curator of the John Martin Rare Book Room at the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. The Hardin Library houses one of the finest collections of historical medical books in the country. Ed’s passion is making Iowa citizens aware of the rich resources that are to be found in these rare works that date from 1470 to the present. In doing so, he offers audiences a lively and up-close view of the volumes themselves—an opportunity to handle the books and to literally turn the pages of medical history. His presentations are enhanced by the development and use of animated views of some of the more striking images in the collections and of video clips of Dr. John Martin.

Revealing an Iowa Gem—The John Martin Rare Book Room 
The history of medicine comes alive as audiences see the images of and hear the stories behind the most important works in the collection, including Andreas Vesalius’ epoch-making 1543 anatomy atlas and the fist edition of William Harvey’s humble little book on circulation that overturned years of entrenched tradition and authority. Modern medicine is the story of bold initiatives, blind alleys, outlandish notions, discouragement and perseverance. Seeing the works and learning their significance engenders in us a much needed sense of wonderment, humility and gratitude.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
The human body has been a source of mystery, curiosity and amazement since antiquity. Our curiosity continues today as evidenced by the interest we take in displays such as Gunther von Hagens’ widely attended “Body Worlds.” This presentation offers a glimpse at the human body as depicted by anatomists and artists through a firsthand look at images taken from the great anatomical atlases of the past. From the sometimes crude drawings of the early incunables to the lavish and striking engravings and lithographs of subsequent generations, these depictions parallel our increasing understanding of the structure and function of the most complex of all creations.